Here's some observations around Chicago fishing at the toughest sectionals in the five years of Illinois' ground-breaking state championship for high school bass fishing.
The greatest thing might have been that all nine Chicago-area sectionals were able to be fished, considering the historic flooding, which began two days before the original date of sectionals.
Braidwood Lake did double duty, taking the displaced Des Plaines Conservation Area sectional on Friday.
Busse Woods did double duty on Thursday. Busse South picked up the displaced Chain O'Lakes South, while Busse Main handled Chain O'Lakes North.
A NORTHERN PITCH: What happened at Busse Woods and Skokie Lagoons might argue for the sectionals being too early for northern Illinois, something many fishermen have pointed out since the beginning.
Because of a week postponement and a much warmer day on Friday, Skokie produced a respectable nine fish on Friday, it's first respectable catch.
An even better argument for later sectionals might come from Busse. On Monday, the teams, who knew they would be fishing Busse, only caught four keepers.
But on Thursday, teams, who only had about a day notice of the site change, pulled a respectable 12 fish from Busse South and seven from Busse Main.
BIG FISH: There were quite a number of quality fish caught, the biggest of all went to Ryan Kirkpatrick of Grayslake North (above) with a largemouth of 4.5 pounds, a true beauty, caught from Busse South.
ONLY LIMIT: The Providence Catholic duo of sophomore Matt Bomba, making his second trip to state, and junior Matt Harrington caught the only five-fish limit (9.44) of the nine Chicago-area sectionals, and they culled three fish.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: The dirty cold water made for tough fishing, as expected. But even so, it was disappointing that Heidecke Lake only produced one keeper (2.2, sophomore Darren Gabel's, Plainfield South) and it was the same at Shabbona Lake ((1.9, junior Garrison Govig, Indian Creek).
BEST SECTIONALS: Braidwood produced both the top sectionals with 24 keepers on Monday with the original sectional and another 13 on Friday as a sub site for Des Plaines.
Here is my point on this, that should be the overall aim and goal, finding sites like Braidwood, which can consistently provide student anglers the opportunity to have quality fishing experiences.